The anatomy of a beauty product label (back)

Working out how much copy to put on the back of your beauty product label is a tricky copywriting task. It’s crucial to make a positive impression – fast – and set the right expectations about your product. But there are space limitations, which are particularly pesky for small products like eye creams and lip glosses. Learn what information you must include, and the best way to create the back of your beauty product label.

Marketing message

The back of your beauty product label is one key place where you create your product story. Make it as creative as you wish, or keep it straightforward. Whatever you choose, make it clear and compelling.

Think about where your consumer will be in the customer journey when they see this copy. Will it be on a shelf in a physical store? If so, they’ll be looking for key information quickly so they’re not standing around in an aisle for ages. Or will they read it at home, after they’ve made the purchase? They don’t need to be convinced to buy it – they already have. Here’s a chance to set the right expectations about the product’s benefits, or how delightful it will be to use.

Usage instructions

It’s best to keep this simple and to the point. You can add some personality if you like, but it shouldn’t be at the cost of clarity. It’s a good idea to run your ‘how to use’ copy by a few different people – inside and outside your business – to ensure that it makes sense.

Ingredient list

There’s no room for cleverness or creativity here, sorry! You must list your ingredients in descending order, using their proper INCI/CosIng names. (English common names for plants are optional.)

‘Manufactured by’ or ‘Distributed by’ and street address

You can use either ‘Manufactured by’ or ‘Distributed by’, depending on what makes sense for your business. However, you must include a valid street address.

You aren’t allowed to list a PO box – this is a mistake that smaller brand owners often make. If you don’t want to use your personal street address, you can ask your manufacturer if you can use theirs. In some cases, you could even use the business address of your business’s accountant or lawyer. Check with them first though, to make sure if you receive any business mail it’ll reach you quickly.

Batch number and expiry

Including a batch number is optional but recommended for tracing any production issues. If there are complaints (or compliments!) about a certain batch of formulas, it’ll make it much easier to check the production notes with your manufacturer.

You must include a product expiry. The period-after-opening (POA) symbol is the most common option. It indicates how many months after a consumer opens your cosmetic product they can use it before it degrades or goes off.

Extra elements for beauty product labels

  • Key ingredients,
  • Website and/or social media handles,
  • QR code with a link to the product page or exclusive content,
  • Relevant safety warnings – these are specific to some products, so make sure you’re aware of any warnings you may need to include.

The best way to write a beauty product label

The real estate on the back of your beauty product label where you sell a product story to your consumers. But it’s important to use the space wisely. There’s a lot of copy you absolutely must include (per product labelling regulations), so don’t get carried away with adding extra bits if you don’t have ample space.

Amy Hadley

Amy Hadley is a beauty copywriter with a background in print journalism, digital media, public relations, and eCommerce. As someone contributing to the beauty industry, she encourages her clients to use words creatively, sincerely, and responsibly. This is to promote more honest and thoughtful communication in the beauty industry, and better serve its consumers.

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